News & Commentary

September 4, 2014

The Seventh Circuit held Indiana’s  “Right to Work” law doesn’t violated the U.S. Constitution, according to Bloomberg News. The case, Sweeney v. Pence, was a 2-1 vote. A year ago, an Indiana state court found that the law violated that state’s constitution. Tuesday’s decision does not affect the state court ruling, which is being appealed separately to the Indiana Supreme Court. Stay tuned for more commentary on this case.

Detroit’s bankruptcy case continued in court on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. Bruce Bennett, a lawyer representing the city, presented the blueprint for the bankruptcy plan, and urged Judge Steven Rhodes to accept it. An explainer on Detroit’s bankruptcy is available here.

In immigration news, the New York Times reports on a new study demonstrating that deportations don’t lead to lower crime rates. The study is by NYU Law Professor Adam Cox and University of Chicago Law Professor Thomas J. Miles, who performed a comprehensive analysis of the “Secure Communities” program. “Secure Communities” shares information from local law enforcement with federal immigration officials, and then allows federal officials to ask local law enforcement to detain people who may be undocumented and turn them over to immigration officials to start deportation procedures. Although its goal is improving public safety, the program has been controversial since it began in 2008. Because the initial rollout was phased-in over several years, Professors Cox and Miles were able to compare data across cities with and without “Secure Communities.” They concluded there is no empirical evidence that “Secure Communities” causes a “meaningful reduction” in crime rates.

In other immigration news, the Los Angeles Times editorial board urged the Department of Homeland Security to expand its settlement with undocumented immigrants who were improperly deported via “voluntary departure.” Immigration authorities often encourage undocumented immigrants facing deportation to sign “voluntary departure” forms, which allow them to leave the country without going through a deportation hearing. Last year, the ACLU filed a class action against DHS for lying to immigrants about the consequences of those forms—signing a “voluntary departure” form bans the immigrant from returning for 10 years (even if they otherwise could get a visa to come lawfully), and prevents immigrants who may have a legal right to remain in the country (such as spouses of U.S. citizens) from pursuing that right. DHS agreed to settle the case, but many of the proposed reforms, such as increased training for DHS agents, are limited to Southern California. The Times urges the government to implement the reforms nation-wide.

Following Labor Day this past Monday, the Washington Post has an excellent round-up of labor-related articles from around the Internet.

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